The Last Word On Cell Phone/GPS Jammers and Blockers
by Monty Henry on Sunday, June 10, 2012 at 11:11am
Pursuant to Section 503(b)(5) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended ("Act"), 47 U.S.C. S: 503(b)(5),
for marketing unauthorized radio frequency devices in the United States in violation of Section 302(b) of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 302a(b), and Sections 2.803 and 15.205(a) of the Commission's Rules ("Rules"), 47 C.F.R. S:S: 2.803 and 15.205(a).
Section 302(b) of the Act provides that "[n]o person shall manufacture,import, sell, offer for sale, or ship devices or home electronic equipment and systems, or use devices, which fail to comply with regulations promulgated pursuant to this section." Section 2.803(a)(1) of the Commission's implementing regulations provides that:
No person shall sell or lease, or offer for sale or lease (including advertising for sale or lease), or import, ship, or distribute for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease, any radio frequency device unless ... [i]n the case of a device subject to certification, such device has been authorized by the Commission in accordance with the rules in this chapter and is properly identified and labeled as required by S: 2.925 and other relevant sections in this chapter.
Additionally, Section 2.803(g) of the Rules, 47 C.F.R. S: 2.803(g),provides in pertinent part that:
[R]adio frequency devices that could not be authorized or legally operated under the current rules ... shall not be operated, advertised, displayed, offered for sale or lease, sold or leased, or otherwise marketed absent a license issued under part 5 of this chapter or a special temporary authorization issued by the Commission.
Pursuant to section 15.201(b) of the Rules, 47 C.F.R. S: 15.201(b),intentional radiators must be authorized in accordance with the Commission's certification procedures prior to the initiation of marketing in the United States.
Such use is clearly prohibited by section 333 of the Act, 47 U.S.C. S: 333, which states that "[n]o person shall willfully or maliciously interfere with or cause interference to any radio communications of any station licensed or authorized by or under this Act or operated by the United States Government." Thus, a device such as a jammer which intentionally interferes with radio communications is not eligible for certification.
With respect to GPS Blockers, Section 15.205(a) of the Rules allows intentional radiators to transmit only spurious emissions in the restricted frequency bands. Thus, GPS Blockers, which operate in the 1450 MHz to 1600 MHz bands, intentionally transmits radio frequency energy on restricted frequencies and is ineligible for certification on this basis as well.
Furthermore, to state that cell phone jammers advertised are "[f]or [e]xport [o]nly. USA customers must be authorized Law Enforcement and/or Gov. [sic] Agency approved." Section 302(c) of the Act and Section 2.807(d) of the Rules exempt radio frequency devices intended for use by the federal government from the general prohibition on marketing of unauthorized equipment. However, there is no similar exemption allowing the marketing or sale of unauthorized radio frequency devices to state and local law enforcement agencies.
Accordingly, it is a clear violation Section 302(b) of the Act and Sections 2.803 and 15.205(a) of the Rules by marketing in the United States the unauthorized radio frequency devices.
Furthermore, Sections 4(i), 4(j), and 403 of the Act, afford the Commission broad authority to investigate the entities it regulates. Section 4(i) authorizes the Commission to "issue such orders, not inconsistent with this Act, as may be necessary in the execution of its functions." Section 4(j) states that "the Commission may conduct its proceedings in such manner as will best conduce to the proper dispatch business and to the ends of justice." Section 403 grants the Commission "full authority and power at any time to institute an inquiry, on its own motion, in any case and as to any matter or thing concerning which complaint is authorized to be made, to or before the Commission by any provision of this Act, or concerning which any question may arise under any of the provisions of this Act."
If, after receipt of a citation, a company or individual violates the Communications Act of the Commission's rules in any manner described herein, the Commission may impose monetary forfeitures not to exceed $11,000 for each such violation or each day of a continuing violation.
Under the Privacy Act of 1974, 5 U.S.C. S: 552(a)(e)(3), the Commission's staff will use all relevant material information before it, including information that is disclosed in an interview or written statement, to determine what, if any, enforcement action is required to ensure the compliance with the Communications Act and the Commission's rules.
The knowing and willful making of any false statement, or the concealment of any material fact, in reply to this citation is punishable by fine or imprisonment under 18 U.S.C. S: 1001.
Federal Communications Commission Section 15.3(o) of the Rules defines an "intentional radiator" as a "device that intentionally generates and emits radio frequency energy by radiation or induction." 47 C.F.R. S: 15.3(o). Section 2.803(e)(4) of the Rules defines "marketing" as the "sale or lease, or offering to sale or lease, including advertising for sale or lease, or importation, shipment or distribution for the purpose of selling or leasing or offering for sale or lease." 47 C.F.R. S: 2.803(e)(4). 47 C.F.R. S: 2.1 defines spurious emissions as "[e]missions on a frequency or frequencies which are outside the necessary bandwidth and the level of which may be reduced without affecting the corresponding transmission of information. Spurious emissions include harmonic emissions, parasitic emissions, intermodulation products and frequency conversion products, but exclude out-of-band emissions." 47 C.F.R. S: 2.807(d). 47 U.S.C. S:S: 154 (i), 154 (j) and 403.
See, e.g., SBC Communications, Inc., Forfeiture Order, 17 FCC Rcd 7589, 7591 (2002). In SBC Communications, Inc., the Commission imposed a $100,000 forfeiture against a carrier for its willful refusal to supply a sworn declaration in response to an Enforcement Bureau letter of inquiry. The Commission stated, "[T]he order here was squarely within the Commission's authority and, in any event, parties are required to comply with Commission orders even if they believe them to be outside the Commission's authority." Id. at 7591. See 47 C.F.R. S: 1.80(b)(3).